Tools and Data

Tool

Microsoft Excel

Select a spreadsheet that offers a variety of options for displaying the data graphically. The case study in this chapter is developed using Excel 98. It is a component of the Microsoft Office suite but can also be purchased separately.

Tool Builder

Microsoft Corporation
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx
Home Page for Excel

Tool Cost

Microsoft Office, which includes Excel, is available to teachers and students for approximately $150.
Purchasing information

Data Source 1

Streamflow Data

The Water Resources section of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website is a wonderful source of real-time and historical stream flow data. The data is collected by USGS at thousands of monitoring stations for streams and rivers throughout all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The period of time for which data is available will vary from stream to stream; in some cases, records go back several decades while for others just a few years of data is available. The data can be downloaded free of charge.

For more information on this data set, see Exploring USGS Peak Streamflow Data in the Classroom.

Geospatial Coverage

The entire United States and Puerto Rico.

Temporal Coverage

Varies with location, but can go back 50 years or more in some instances.

Data Source 2

Precipitation Data

The most comprehensive source of daily precipitation data is on the website of the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) in the Surface Summary of the Day section. The drawback is that unless you connect to the site from an .edu domain computer, you will be charged a fee for the data ($10 for one year of daily precipitation data). You'll need to place an order by completing a web form, and you'll receive an email message with links to the data you ordered once it's available. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes to a day or more. The Surface Summary of the Day is available for thousands of weather stations throughout the country. In some instances, the historical record goes back several decades, but that will vary from station to station.

If you do not have access to an .edu domain computer, you can check with your local state climate office to see if free data is available.

Geospatial Coverage

The entire United States and Puerto Rico.

Temporal Coverage

Varies with location, but can go back 50 years or more in some instances.


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